Demand for Joint Replacement Surgery Grows, Latest Report Says

joint replacement surgeryJoint replacements are one of the most common types of inpatient surgeries in Canada. The number of people undergoing hip and knee replacements continues to increase, with about 130,000 surgeries performed each year. However, this information begs the question – why are so many Canadians having joint replacement surgeries?

Due to the advancing age of the general population, a considerable amount of Canadians are beginning to experience degenerative arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, which affects the protective cartilage in the knees, hips and other joints. This has created a greater demand for joint replacement surgeries over the last several years.

According to a new report released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, joint replacement surgeries have increased on average by 17 per cent in the past five years. In 2017-2018, this amounted to at least 70,000 knee replacements and 59,000 hip replacements. The Canadian Joint Replacement Registry (CJRR) annual report also examines revision surgeries conducted in the country, including factors affecting the need for revision surgeries by examining more than 350,000 initial hip and knee replacements within a five-year period.  

Latest Findings on Joint Replacements

The latest findings looks at key statistics on joint replacements and the risk of revision surgeries between 2017 and 2018. About 130,000 joint replacement surgeries are performed annually in Canada. Generally, patients who have hip and joint replacements stay in the hospital for 4.5 days. This amounts to nearly $10,000 per person in inpatient costs, not including physician payments and rehabilitation, and totaling over $1.2 billion year-over-year.

When a joint replacement no longer functions properly, because it breaks or wears out, revision surgery is often required. More than 9,700 hip and knee replacement revision surgeries were performed during 2017-2018, an increase of 8.2 per cent and 6.9 per cent. While the number of revision surgeries performed is less in comparison to initial joint replacement surgeries, it is more costly for patients and requires longer hospitalization.

Patients who undergo revision surgery stay twice as long in the hospital (from 4.2 days to 8.9 days) in order to recover from the procedure. This is because revision surgery is typically more complex than the initial surgery and more susceptible to additional complications. The average inpatient cost of revision surgery is also nearly 80 per cent more than initial surgery – totaling about $17,000 per person and costing more than $163 million each year.

Hip Replacement and Revision Surgeries

After years of chronic pain, hip replacements help patients improve their mobility and quality of life. Hip replacements are the third most common inpatient surgery in Canada, with over 58,000 surgeries performed every year. Between 2017-2018, there were approximately 58,492 hip replacements performed.

This is an increase of 17.4 per cent compared to five years earlier, from 2013-2014, at 49,819 surgeries. Two out of every three patients who have had hip replacements were aged 65 and older.

Hip implants generally last about 15 to 20 years before needing to be replaced through revision surgery. However, needing revision surgery relatively earlier than expected after having initial joint replacement surgery can be detrimental to both patients and health care systems.

The risk of early revision surgery has been found in patients with degenerative arthritis and acute hip failure. 4,822 hip replacement revisions were performed in 2017-2018, an increase of two per cent when compared to 2013-2014, with the average cost per person for revision surgery at $18,600 compared to $11,500 for the initial surgery.

Knee Replacement and Revision Surgeries

Knee replacements are another effective treatment to combat chronic pain and limited mobility. It is the second most common inpatient surgery in Canada, with over 70,000 surgeries performed every year. There were 70,502 knee replacements performed in 2017-2018, an increase of 17 per cent when compared to 2013-2014 at 60,257 surgeries. Regardless of sex, more than half of patients (63 per cent) who have had knee replacements were also aged 65 and older.

Similar to other joint replacements, knee implants also last about 20 years, and may require revision surgery. Degenerative arthritis is the leading cause of knee revision surgery, with 4,889 knee revisions performed between 2017-2018, totaling more than $74 million in inpatient costs. On average, knee replacement revision surgery is about $15,300 – nearly double the cost of $7,800 for the initial surgery.

How Canada's Health System is Working to Improve Patient Outcomes

The Canadian Institute for Health Information continues to work with jurisdictions to expand its findings on joint replacement surgery and to identify the risks involved in revision surgery, which could inform clinical practice patterns and the delivery of effective health care services.

Hip and knee replacements continue to be in high demand and account for a significant amount of inpatient surgery costs annually in Canada. More still needs to be done in reducing early revision surgeries to not only cut down on costs and hospitalization, but also to improve patient outcomes, including quality of life.

Contact Our Team for Legal Representation

If you or someone you love had a hip or knee replacement that needed early revision surgery, do not hesitate to contact our firm for legal representation. While degenerative arthritis is a common factor in joint replacement revision surgery, an implant may have also prematurely failed due to a defect in the design. When this happens, you may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured.

Our Windsor defective product lawyers are ready to fight for your best interests every step of the way. We offer free consultation at no risk or obligation to you. Should you decide to take legal action, there are no upfront legal fees unless we help you win your case.

Call (866) 320-4770 today to see how we might be able to help you.